Emails flow into our inboxes 24/7 requiring effort to keep on top of them all. Of course, not all require our immediate response. But for email from those whom we have personal relationships, delayed responses can foster resentment.
Do you respond to some right away and others later — if at all? If you answered yes to that last question (and of course you did — we all do it), then you’ve confirmed what those on the other side assume. Some folks have your attention and priority more than others.
Delayed Response = Lack of Priority
With personal email, lack of or very delayed responses could appear that you are ignoring the Sender or that they are not a priority. Admit it. The fact is that is the case.
Part of Email Etiquette is responding promptly. Why would email be any different being we prioritize every action that we take every day? With email there is an expectation of a speedy reply.
For goodness sake smart phones never leave many folk’s hands anymore! This means that how long you take to respond is something that the other side will use to interpret where they fit in your priorities. If at all.
When it comes to family, friends and those important to you I bet you make a point of responding pretty darned quick. Don’t for a moment think that those who you put on the back burner do not understand that this is exactly what you are doing. They do it themselves, so no one is fooling anyone here.
But I’m a Busy Person!
Common… who isn’t? We all prioritize our relationships. Doing so in a courteous manner that doesn’t harm those relationships is worth the time and effort. Even if to pop off a quick response that you are busy and will be in touch. This approach requires you thinking outside the bubble of me, myself and I and thinking about how your lack of response may impact those waiting for your reply.
When you are really that busy let those who you want to maintain healthy relationships with know that. Taking the required couple minutes here or there to send a quick — and courteous — respond shouldn’t cramp your style that much.
If it will then you need to start establishing expectations and work on getting more organized. For example, if you know you have a crazy time-frame approaching — let folks know that. Then they know what to expect and won’t assume you are ignoring them.
Remember the Golden Rule!
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Why not check out my article on email organization to try and free up a little extra time?